Stanley Tucci takes no issue with straight actors playing gay characters — as long as it’s done “the right way.”
The Oscar-nominated actor waded into the debate surrounding LGBTQ+ casting on Sunday’s episode of BBC Radio 4’s “Desert Island Discs.” Tucci, 62, has portrayed queer men in 2006’s “The Devil Wears Prada” and 2020’s “Supernova.”
“Obviously, I believe that’s fine,” Tucci told the BBC.
“And I’m always very flattered when gay men come up to me and talk about ‘The Devil Wears Prada,’ when they talk about ‘Supernova,’ and they say that it was ‘just so beautiful. You did it the right way.’ Because often it’s not done the right way.”
Tucci is among several celebrities who have shared their opinions on whether it’s OK for straight actors to accept queer roles.
In a 2021 interview with the Los Angeles Times, “The Big Bang Theory” alum Jim Parsons mused that “the fight … is not about having only gay people play the gay parts but to ensure that all parts are open to all actors.”
“It’s important that gay characters are portrayed as well-rounded and completely human individuals,” added Parsons, who noted that “there are plenty of straight actors who have played gay characters brilliantly.”
When asked by the Hollywood Reporter in 2018 about the casting discourse, “Carol” star Cate Blanchett declared she would “fight to the death for the right to suspend disbelief and play roles beyond” her own experience, including queer characters.
Others, however, have suggested that queer roles should be cast authentically according to each character’s identity.
Citing a need for greater diversity in the entertainment industry, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” actor Richard E. Grant questioned in a 2019 interview with the Sunday Times how anyone could still “justify heterosexual actors playing gay characters.”
And “Glee” alum Darren Criss made headlines in 2018 for saying that he might stop playing gay characters, telling Bustle, “I want to make sure I won’t be another straight boy taking a gay man’s role.”
Meanwhile, “Happiest Season” star Kristen Stewart told Variety in 2020 that she would “never want to tell a story that really should be told by somebody who’s lived that experience.”
“Having said that, it’s a slippery slope conversation because that means I could never play another straight character if I’m going to hold everyone to the letter of this particular law,” she added. “I think it’s such a gray area.”
For Tucci, the conversation boils down to the core purpose of acting and what it means to be a performer.
“I really do believe that an actor is an actor is an actor,” he said on “Desert Island Discs.”
“You’re supposed to play different people. You just are. That’s that’s the whole point of it.”
Stanley Tucci: It’s OK for straight actors to play gay roles. Stanley Tucci: It’s OK for straight actors to play gay roles